With this post we’ve finally reached the end of the gradual bookshelf reveals. This is the final shelf that completes the above bookshelf plan. Before I go into detail about the books on this shelf I want to spend a bit of time going over the Marvel section in general.
As I’ve explained before, this bookcase is a combination of various units (from the Billy range at Ikea) which includes two media shelves. The goal of my overall organisation is to put everything into some sort of reading order, and to integrate the comic book movies/video games as closely as possible with the books they’re based on.
The way I do this is by first grouping books into relevant franchises/families/imprints, then putting the books into the best reading order while trying to keep authors, titles, and book formats together. This is not always easy, and the often used alphabetical ordering system has no place here. The Marvel section is the best example to illustrate what I mean.
The Marvel Arrangement
A large portion of my comics are Marvel properties, it’s just the publisher I’m drawn to the most and where most of my favourite writers tend to work. The Marvel library is split into four big groupings:
1) Avengers Related (Down the left hand side) 2) X-Men & Other Teams (Down the right side) 3) Street Level Heroes (In the middle section) 4) Ultimate Marvel Universe (Along the bottom)
Some of these sections overlap by design; the Events shelf contains both X-Men and Avengers related books so it sits between the two shelves. The Ultimate X-Men/Fantastic Four books sit at the bottom of the X-Men & Teams section, and Ultimate Spider-Man is directly below the other Street-Level heroes.
This creates an organic flow from one shelf to another, and has to be adapted based on any individual collection. A lot of people have way more X-Men material than me, so they’d need a much larger X-Men section and the other Team books would have to go elsewhere if they were using my setup.
Once the sections are chosen the books are split into sub-groups. The right hand side is the best illustration of this as the X-Men get their own shelf, the Cosmic books are all together, then the remaining Team books. In this case it flows quite naturally with the reading order as X-Men: Rise & Fall of the Shi’ar empire leads into the Cosmic series, then Fantastic Four picks up after War of Kings.
A lot of thought has been given this layout so that as much as possible the authors are grouped together and the shelves flow in a logical way. Behind all this is the mythical ‘reading order’, which is an unobtainable thing when reading part of a shared universe as the paths tend to splinter and diverge all over the place.
Once I have books grouped into shelves they tend to go into whatever makes the most sense for reading order. Sometimes they’re grouped by title (like my Avengers books) and others they’re more chronological (like the Cosmic stuff). It doesn’t always work out perfectly, but the idea is that you could grab a handful of books off any shelf and they’d follow on from each other quite nicely.
This shelf is quite interesting because it’s a combination of everything. When Marvel relaunched after Avengers vs X-Men almost everything went back to issue 1 and the books were re-branded as Marvel NOW. This shelf contains both Avengers and X-Men books, as well as Street-Level and Cosmic.
I made the decision to keep all these books together, and a couple of things contributed to that. The first was that they all adopted the white-spine design and started having uniform lettering. So aesthetically it made the most sense. The more important reason is that the writers I was reading one one side of the shelf had completely switched over to the other.
This meant that Hickman’s work, which previously occupied one of the Teams shelves would now have to live on the opposite side even though it actually continued some of the Fantastic Four threads. Bendis had similarly switched from Avengers to X-Men, and Remender had decided to write a book that would have no place on ANY of my shelves, as it’s a crossover between the previously separate Avengers and X-Men titles: Uncanny Avengers.
The reason I chose UA as the face-out book on this shelf is that it best represents the mixture of books found here. The shelf is already full and there are a lot more books to come, so there is a contingency plan in place that I’ll talk about in the future. Eventually the only books on this shelf will be UA, Hickman’s Avengers run on the left, and Bendis X-Men/Guardians books on the right.
For now the organisation on this shelf reflects the overall layout of the bookcase. The Avengers relates books are on the left and the X-MNen/Team books are on the right, followed by the Street level stuff. This is my first Spider-Man material outside of USM (and I’ve made my feelings on Dan Slott known before) and because he’s a tent-pole character I’ve put those books with the Avengers titles.
The Secret Stash
Marvel have been doing quite well at publishing OHC’s for all their best books. There are only a handful in my collection that haven’t been given an oversized release. Most notable is Waid’s run on Hulk, which I wish had continued longer as it’s the first time I’ve really been interested in the character.
Nathan Edmondson is an up-and-coming talent that’s worth keeping an eye on. Both Black Widow and The Punisher have been fantastic and I’m really interested to see how his career progresses in the next few years. Moon Knight was great while Warren Ellis was writing it, and Ant-Man is the closest thing to Waid’s Daredevil that we’ve got.
I used to like collecting the Marvel NOW PHC’s because the new trade dress is really nice, but then almost everything in PHC got an OHC release so I ended up dumping my whole inventory. Uncanny X-Men has just had the first OHC solicited so I’ve shifted them over to the sell pile in preparation.
After I show you some pictures of the overall bookcases in the next post I’ll talk about the big re-organisation of 2015 that has ALREADY been implemented. There’ll be new photographs of this bookcase as well as the Multimedia shelves that have all been overhauled.
Thanks for reading, sorry it’s a long post but you haven’t heard from me in a while so I wanted to make up for it. Please remember to FOLLOW if you want to subscribe to my stuff, and check out my other bookshelves and reading lists using the links at the top of the page.